CADOTT — Stanley-Boyd girls basketball coach Alison Becker didn’t need to give any rousing or spirited halftime speech to her Orioles.
They knew what they had to do.
The Orioles outscored Cadott 33-18 in the second half on their way to a 57-37 victory over the Hornets in Western Cloverbelt Conference play on Tuesday evening.
Following a Kyla Nichols basket on the opening possession of the third quarter to bring the Hornets (3-17, 0-13 WCC) to within four at 24-20, Stanley-Boyd (14-5, 9-4 WCC) embarked on a 15-2 run keyed by five points from Brenna Eslinger and four points from Jamie Reit to jump out in front 39-22.
“We came out just picking away, picking away, doing our thing, continuing to be disciplined on defense,” Becker said. “Jamie got some things going with a couple of her steals. Amanda (Hazuga) and Jenna (Hoffstatter) did a good job fronting and taking away the inside game and our defense starts inside out.”
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The Orioles also used a 11-0 run in the later half of the second quarter to turn a 16-13 Cadott lead into a 24-16 Orioles advantage leading into halftime.
Those two Stanley-Boyd runs aside, Cadott coach Dave Hazuga said he was pleased with the way his short-handed Hornets battled throughout.
“I’m very happy with the girls,” Hazuga said. “The best thing about it was after we got down after we had a bad stretch in the third, then they just continued to fight…they make people proud of their effort. I can’t complain.”
The Hornets dealt with foul trouble and a second-quarter injury to starter Tori Crank, leaving them shorthanded for much of the contest.
Chippewa County’s two leading scorers lived up to their billing as Jamie Reit led all scorers with 20 points and Jenna Hoffstatter added 14 for the Orioles. Amanda Hazuga and Bailey Ducommun each added eight points.
Kyla Nichols had 12 points for Cadott, 10 coming in the second half. Elizabeth Kyes scored nine points and Samantha Rineck added eight points.
The Orioles close the regular season with a pair of important matchups. Stanley-Boyd hosts Altoona on Friday with third place in the conference on the line. They follow up by hosting Elk Mound on Monday. The Mounders are one of the top teams from the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and should give the Orioles a strong test heading into the postseason.
“End of the year is a grind for us,” Becker said. “We’ve got to just tough it out, be relentless, keep going for it and be tough.”
The Hornets have made steady progress in Hazuga’s first season at the helm. The team has showed marked improvement throughout, putting together more competitive efforts against conference opponents the second time around. Stanley-Boyd defeated Cadott 63-33 on Jan. 8 and Hazuga is pleased with the results his squad, a team full of many first-year varsity players, has made this season.
“I think our improvement had to be so big, and it was,” Hazuga said. “We’ve made a big jump. These are teams, including the team tonight, we were losing by 40 the first time around to those teams. We lost this one by 20, but really it was a more competitive game than that.”
Cadott hosts McDonell on Friday to close the regular season.